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since 05/03/2004


Top Ten Films Of All Time 22/04/2004

Straight up, with a twist

Top Ten Films Of All Time I've been thinking a lot about films recently. I'm not sure why though - maybe because it's one of those rare times in our lives when there's a load of films on at the cinema that I actually want to see? Anyway, it got me pondering about my own taste in "movies" and I endeavoured to sit down and put together a Top 10, which I now present for your perusal and enjoyment. Narrowing it down to ten was a hard task, believe me. I would start to list some of the ones that nearly made it, but I think we'd be here all day (although Star Wars does deserve a huge apology for its absence). There's some beauts that didn't make the list, but some absolute crackers that did No doubt people will say to me, "what about X?" and I may like that film too - but these are the 10 that I've liked so much as to go out and buy them on video. And then when I bought a DVD player, to go through the pointless and expensive exercise of buying them all on DVD too. So here we go..... 10. Sleepers --------------- ----- An absolutely fantastic film to start with, and one of the greatest casts assembled for a recent film. Kevin Bacon, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Brad Pitt, Jason Patric and...erm... Minnie Driver star in this powerful thriller about four lads growing up in Hells Kitchen, New York. They make a mistake that could easily happen to any of us and get sent away to the equivalent of Borstal. What happens there scars them for life, and when an event as adults bring them back ...

Rainbow 21/04/2004

George and Bungle in Twanger Shocker

Rainbow Now we all remember Rainbow, some of us perhaps more fondly than others. I, for one, loved the show and all its quirks but I have talked to people who absolutely hated it, for whatever personal reasons they may have However, as a loyal fan of the show and considerate Cioa-er, I feel it my duty to tell you all some rather worrying news....we've been had. Rainbow was nothing more than an adult "wet dream" masquerading as a TV show. An excuse for a bunch of twisted people to get together and take the mickey out of their pre-teen audience without us realising it Before I go on, if you're one of those people who fondly treasures their childhood memories of this seemingly-innocent TV show, then I suggest you look away now.... Right, now they've gone, let's have a quick resume of the show: Rainbow is classic 80's kids TV. Bungle the bear, George the pink hippo, Geoffrey the human and Zippy the....erm.....creature with a zip for mouth. All living together in a house telling stories and shooting the breeze And every so often those nice neighbours Rod, Jane and Freddy would pop their heads around the corner and sing a lovely song for us So far no problem. Now admittedly the format of the show was pretty weird. Some bloke sharing a house with a load of all-male talking animals and not seeing a problem with that. But that's not the cause of my concern here.... I was recently told by a confidential source (who would prefer to remain nameless for fear of being ... 18/04/2004

Prints Charming? Now digital cameras are great, don't get me wrong. The quality of the photos you can take are incredible, and the ability to review, delete or store your shots is a life-saver. I bought a digital camera at Xmas and wouldn't be without it now But there's something very reassuring about having the physical photos in your hand, plus you then get to share them with your friends and family and put them up in frames. Not forgetting the great "take my holiday photos into work and show off what I was doing whilst you were stuck here!" Well provides a kind of halfway-house between the two. It allows you safe and unlimited storage of your digital photos, the ability to share these "albums" with whoever you choose, and then you can order whatever copies you want for a reasonable price Kodak ---------- Ofoto is owned by Kodak, so straight away you've got the reassurance that this is a reliable company, and one that's not going to disappear in a week or two, taking your online photos with it! You've got a trusted brand plus any photos you order are going to be Kodak quality Joining ----------- Registering at is simple, at you also get 10 free 6X4 prints when you join. As per most websites of this type you get your own secure login details to ensure that no-one else can see your photos or access your details Creating an album --------------- ------------ As per real life, your photos are stored in an album. Essentially you can create as many or ...

Sanex Dermo Sensitive Deodorant 17/04/2004

Be kind to your pits

Sanex Dermo Sensitive Deodorant When I was younger, so much younger than today....I used to love Lynx deodorant. Every time they brought a new variant out I'd be among the first to try it. But as I got older, the harsh nature of the product started to irritate my skin So I changed deodorant, hoping that this would help my skin out and reduce the redness and itching. And it did....for a while. But after a couple of weeks, the inevitable symptoms would return and I'd be back where I started This continued for a couple of years. Some deodorants would last for longer before irritating me, but all the ones I tried would finally give way and cause my skin to become extremely painful I've later learnt that this is quite a common occurrence. A lot of the deodorants on the market nowadays are so heavily perfumed that skin is easily irritated by them, especially after regular use over a period of time There are some products on the market that claim to be gentle on your skin, but I've never found them to be that good - even the Simple range of products. So when I discovered Sanex "Dermo Sensitive" my expectations weren't particularly high The slogan for the product is that it "lets skin breathe." It is alcohol free and has been dermatologically tested to help work with delicate skin in order to prevent the dryness, itching and redness that I described before It contains something called Lactoserum, which apparently is an ingredient rich in milk proteins - these little fellas are supposed to be ...

My Way - Frank Sinatra 14/04/2004

Can I be Frank?

My Way - Frank Sinatra I'd never really considered myself a massive Frank Sinatra fan. Sure, I knew who he was and could name a couple of his songs, but I didn't ever think about buying his albums or anything This all changed at Christmas, when my family made me sit through the cringe-inducing Mel Gibson rom-com, 'What Women Want'. We can argue about the pros and cons of the film another time, but for me the only bright point was the soundtrack For those that haven't seen the film, fell asleep or walked out halfway through, the soundtrack is pretty much all Sinatra. I was instantly hooked - the foot was tapping, I was humming along, I couldn't help myself! So the next day I jumped on the web and sought out a CD that would give me a great overview of the man himself...and I'm glad to say that I found it. So in the spirit of sharing great discoveries and introducing people to new's Frank! The Man Himself --------------- --------- I'm sure there's not a person reading this who hasn't heard of Frank Sinatra. But I felt the review could do with a quick biography of Ol' Blue Eyes (one of his nicknames), almost to set the scene: Frank Sinatra was born to Italian-American parents on December 12th 1915 in New Jersey. His dad was a boxer/fireman and his mum a barmaid. Inspired by seeing his boy-hood hero Bing Crosby sing live, he took up singing - first for fun, and then in competitions In 1939 he was "discovered" and signed for a band, but in 1942 decided to go solo. ...

Palmers Cocoa Butter 12/04/2004

Smother me in Chocolate

Palmers Cocoa Butter Dry skin is an absolute nightmare, no question about that. There's a lot of people around who suffer from this particular skin complaint, and I'm most certainly one of them. There's so many things these days that dry our skin out, so that whatever you can find which helps to combat this and moisturise your skin, is an absolute godsend. And Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula is most definitely one of mine. I discovered this about 18 months ago when I saw a bottle lurking on my then-girlfriend's make up counter and went in for a closer look. Obviously being a bloke and not following the "look with your eyes" rule, within 30 seconds I'd squirted a generous dollop on my hands and rubbed it into my face The perfect crime, or so I thought. However, not so...For the first thing that will hit you about this product is the smell. Unlike other cocoa butters that I've seen, this smells well and truly of cocoa. I was rumbled The smell of this cocoa butter is absolutely divine. It's a cross between vanilla and rich chocolate, absolute heaven. The number of times people at work have said "Mmmm, it smells like chocolate in here" is hysterical. One on occasion, a shop assistant complimented the girl I was with on "that lovely vanilla smell" - only to be told it was me! So, smell aside, what's so good about it then? Well for one thing, it actually works. Palmer's Cocoa Butter sells itself on "softening, smoothing and relieving dry skin" and it most definitely does that. It ...

Everything that starts with S ... 11/04/2004

Silver Surfer

Everything that starts with S ... Well it came as a bit of a shock when I looked up at my "number of reviews" bar and realised that my next op was going to be number 25. It feels like I've hardly been here any time at all. So in honour of this, my Silver Anniversary, I thought I'd take up a challenge. It's only the second one I've done, so I wanted to pick a good one.... "Scampi1 says ‘As some of you may have noticed I'm fond of the odd challenge or three. However, I've decided to turn the tables and challenge you lot instead, so here goes.’ " A. If you'd been born a girl instead of a boy or vice-versa, do you know what name(s) your parents would have given you? Apparently, I'd have been "Gabrielle" if I was born a girl. I do like that name actually, especially when shortened to Gaby. Although maybe I'd leave out the eyepatch..... B. Do you share a birthday with anyone famous? Quite a few it would seem - Sarah Brightman, Magic Johnson, Emmanuelle Beart, Gary Larson (Far Side cartoonist), Steve Martin and Halle Berry! C. Marmite, do you love it or hate it? Well I've only just written a review saying how much I love the stuff, so my opinions on the matter are pretty well versed! D. What book are you currently reading, or have you finished recently? I'm midway through "Notes from a Small Island" by Bill Bryson which is really well-written and funny. The last one I finished was Frank Skinner's autobiography, which was also very very good - and thoroughly ...

Marmite Yeast Extract 11/04/2004

Introducing my mate...

Marmite Yeast Extract So after 20-odd ops here on Ciao, I guess it's time for the big confession.....I like Marmite. Well, actually, that's not technically true - if it were I might not be so embarrassed. You see....the thing is......I love Marmite. I really do. Can't get enough of the stuff. Yum yum yum yum yum! I'm sorry if you think less of me now, I'll hold my Monkey head in shame. But before I slink away to feel sorry for myself and eat some Marmite on toast, let me try to explain my deep-held affection for this oft-maligned tub of goodness. First off, I do actually think it tastes nice, honestly! For those who've never tasted (or smelt) Marmite, it's kind of hard to explain. I've got a pot in front of me and have been sniffing it frenetically for the last minute or two Apart from getting on a Marmite-High, I'm no closer to being able to describe its flavour. I guess you'd call it fairly nutty, but you'll really have to try it to find out (a quick aside - whatever the flavour, it's not something you want to smell of before you go out, especially with a member of the opposite sex. So make sure you brush your teeth VERY thoroughly first!) For the uninitiated, I'd better quickly explain what Marmite is. Sexily described as "Yeast Extract", Marmite is a gloopy brown spread, with the consistency of thick honey. It's one of those product that, in the words of the TV ad, "you either love or hate." The primary reason for this is the taste, as I've described above. It's unlike ...

Amoy Chilli Soy Sauce 09/04/2004

A Wok in the Park

Amoy Chilli Soy Sauce As I've admitted in previous ops, I'm not the world's greatest cook. Okay, so I'm a step above beans on toast and microwave meals, but I'm hardly Jamie Oliver (thank God!) So when I do venture into the kitchen it's usually to make things that I know I can do and do well. Top of this list are stir fries. I really love stir fries, they're so quick and easy to make and really do taste good....even if I do say so myself! A bit of rice or noodles; some chicken, beef or lamb; fresh vegetables and voila - a healthy, tasty meal on a plate (or bowl if you prefer) But the problem I find is that after a while, stir fries can all get a bit "samey". Yes there's lots of different sauces and spices you can add, but I've always looked to do something a bit different So when I saw this Amoy Chilli Soy Sauce on the aisle in Sainsbury's I didn't have to think twice to give it a go. Soy sauce is a staple ingredient of mine, not just for stir fries, but for a whole lot of different things It's not a difficult product to understand - it's soy sauce with chilli in it. True you could probably make it yourself, but seeing as how those lovely people at Amoy have taken time out of their hectic schedule to make it and put it in a lovely 150ml bottle, it almost seems rude not to As for the bottle, well it's your "standard" soy sauce type container with a flip top lid and a lovely red and black label. But you really don't want to hear about that, do you?! As with most Amoy products ...

Everything that starts with G ... 08/04/2004

Gender Bender - A survival guide for men and women

Everything that starts with G ... In this crazy mixed up world we live in, it's hard to know what to believe. The goalposts are constantly shifting, the instruction manual for men and women is constantly being updated. The gender rules are changing every day. You think you've finally got the hang of things and....BOOM....everything changes So where do you turn to for useful advice? Who can help out with impartial, unbiased tips to help men and women survive the modern minefield? Fear not citizens, for I, Redmonkey, have come to your assistance with this invaluable (and ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek) guide to survival. Can I first add that this is all meant in good humour, so please nobody take me too seriously.... Anyway, first off the GUYS..... BLOKE'S RULES OF LIFE Any Man who brings a camera to a stag night may be legally killed and eaten by his fellow partygoers Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella. It is ok for a man to cry under the following circumstances: a. When a heroic dog dies to save its master b. The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse. c. After wrecking your boss' car. d. One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into "The Crying Game" e. When she is using her teeth. Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours If you've known a bloke for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever, unless you actually marry her Moaning about the brand of free beer in a mate's ...

Nivea for Men Aftershave Balm 06/04/2004

Sensitive, moi?

Nivea for Men Aftershave Balm It's not really much fun having sensitive skin. In the summer it gets really dry from the heat and humidity - well if you can really call it that in this country! - and in the winter the excessive central heating we all use makes it even worse Moisturisers to combat daily "wear and tear" are all well and good, but by far the worst thing we can do to our skin is shave it. Okay, so we don't all want to grow beards and 'taches, so there's not really a viable alternative. (although I do enjoy having a bit of facial hair to stroke and seem intelligent from time to time....) So for most guys, a shave every day or so is what we're stuck with for pretty much the rest of our lives. And seeing as how we're going to be doing this for so long, we may as well make sure we've got the right equipment You all know that feeling right after you've had a shave. Your skin starts to dry out and tighten, it feels like all the moisture is evaporating as you stand there. Within a couple of minutes it can get quite sore, and give it an hour or two and you'll be quite red. In extreme cases you'll get dry skin and could even do serious damage. Which is why moisturising your skin properly after shaving is so important. And if, like me, you've got sensitive skin that's prone to dryness, it's absolutely vital to get it right Enter our lead character stage left. Nivea for Men Aftershave Balm is an absolute joy, and a definitive must in my toiletry shopping. I've tried many substitutes over ...

Everything that starts with Q ... 04/04/2004

Questions, questions, so many questions...

Everything that starts with Q ... You know when there's something that doesn't quite make sense? When you can see the logic up to a certain point, but after that you just don't understand? When there's something you know isn't quite right, but you can't put your finger on it? You know what I mean, things like this. It's a bit of a list, but believe me, they're all good 'uns..... -Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin? -Why don't you ever see the headline Psychic Win the Lottery"? -Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"? -Why is it that to stop Windows 98, you have to click on "Start"? -Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons? -Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker? -Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour? -When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it? -Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections? -Why does a gynecologist leave the room when you get undressed? -Why does mineral water that 'has trickled through mountains for centuries have a 'use by' date? -Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp no-one would eat? -Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed? -Is it possible to brush your teeth without wiggling your ass? -Why is it called Alcoholics Anonymous when the first thing you do is standup and say, 'My name is Bob, and I am an ... 30/03/2004

Work Hard, Play Easy Before I begin, this review should come with a warning - once you've tried, the chances are you aren't going to buy your CDs, DVDs or Games from anywhere else. And your willpower to stop spending will vanish.... I first discovered about 18 months ago, when searching for sites to buy cheap DVDs from. It fulfilled my need now, and continues to do so this day, and more so Looking back over my order history, I've spent over £250 on 20 different items in that time, so my brand loyalty is fairly obvious. It's a great site, fantastic features, user-friendly, well laid out, excellent customer service.....right, before I get carried away, let's start at the beginning: sells 3 staple items - DVDs, CDs and games, as well as a couple of extras that have recently been added. They don't fall down on their supply of any of them. DVDs --------- Play have an immense range of DVDs for sale, it must be a good few thousand. In all the times I've been looking to buy DVDs, or have recommended friends to, there's never been a time when they didn't have in stock the one I wanted You can search for DVDs by title, actor, director, language and subtitles - so whatever little you know about the film, you're sure to be able to find it. This is also really useful if you like a particular actor or director and want to see more of their work Alternatively you can browse by genre, such as action, drama, comedy, horror etc (for those of a certain persuasion, ...

London in general 29/03/2004

London calling....but do you like what it says?

London in general Samuel Johnson once wrote than when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. That may be true, for indeed there are endless ways to pass the time, from museums and galleries, to cafes and restaurants, parks and walks, historical sites, famous old buildings, and of course...the shops But there's also the other side of things, the "changes" that occur to a person once they have been living in London for an extended period of time So to celebrate my 2-year anniversary of living in the Big Smoke, here's an ever-so-slightly tongue in cheek guide to "You know that you've been living in London too long when...." 1. You say "the City" and expect everyone to know which one 2. You have never been to The Tower or Madame Tussauds but love Brighton 3. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Shepherds Bush to Elephant & Castle at 3:30 on the Friday before a long weekend, but can't find Dorset on a map 4. Hookers and the homeless are invisible 5. You step over people who collapse on the Tube 6. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual 7. You've considered stabbing someone 8. Your door has more than three locks 9. You consider eye contact an act of overt aggression 10. You call an 8' x 10' plot of patchy grass a garden 11. You consider Essex the "countryside" 12. You think Hyde Park is "nature" 13. You're paying £800 a month for a studio the size of a walk-in ...

Jordans Muesli Natural 25/03/2004

Tasty muesli..... really!

Jordans Muesli Natural I'm going through a bit of a health kick at the moment so have been searching for the Holy Grail - something that tastes nice and is also good for you. Now I'm not going to even try and claim that Jordan's Natural Muesli is that long-searched-for product, but it does meet both criteria quite nicely and is definitely worth a go What's that you say....muesli? You mean that really dry, tasteless and boring stuff that they use to line hamster cages? Well that may be true of certain other brands of muesli, and I've tried a few, but this really is actually quite nice. The balance of fruits, nuts and cereals is just about right, so that it doesn't get too dry or too moist, although it still has the capacity to soak up half a pint of milk in under 30 seconds (turn your back for one second in the kitchen, and it's gone!) So let’s get the gory details out of the way: As the name implies, this particular brand of muesli is 100% natural, and contains no added sugar or salt. For me this was a major selling point. So many mueslis are ridiculously sweet that you wonder why they even claim to be healthy. And there's a big focus on salt at the moment so the more we can cut down on that, the better. And of course, we all like to eat natural food And those natural ingredients? - Conservation Grade Wheat Flakes (more later) - Fruit (19.4%, including sultanas, raisins and dates) - Conservation Grade Oat Flakes - Conservation Grade Barley Flakes - Nuts (4.1%, ...
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